Lynagh to swap Harlequins for Italy challenge with Benetton

rugby12 February 2024 15:22| © AFP
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Louis Lynagh © Gallo Images

Louis Lynagh, the son of Australia rugby great Michael Lynagh, is to leave English Premiership club Harlequins for Benetton with the aim of representing Italy, the clubs announced on Monday.

The 23-year-old wing was called up by England under former coach Eddie Jones but failed to win a cap and has been overlooked by Steve Borthwick since he took over in December 2022.

Lynagh, who was born in Treviso, where his father also played, remains eligible to play for England, Italy and Australia.

He has signed a two-year deal with the United Rugby Championship team, with the option to extend the agreement until 2027, and will arrive ahead of the 2024-25 season.

Harlequins' director of rugby Billy Millard said Lynagh had been a "pleasure to work with".

"We're excited to watch his career develop further at Benetton and potentially for Italy," he said. "We wish him the very best as he seeks to build his career in Italy."

Lynagh said it was the right time for a new challenge.

"I have lived in England since I was four years old, but Italy and Treviso have always been in my heart," he said in a Benetton statement.

"I hope to be able to have an important impact... and achieve great goals with this shirt on like my dad did in the past."

Benetton general manager Antonio Pavanello said the club were "proud" that Lynagh may go on to wear the Italy shirt.

He said: "One cannot help but think of the romantic aspect of the story – father Michael was a star... and we hope that the same thing can be said of Louis."

Benetton are riding high in the United Rugby Championship with only Leinster above them in the table.